Facebook’s fake news experiment backfires

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A Facebook test that promoted comments containing the word fake to the top of news feeds has been criticized by users. The trial, which Facebook says has now concluded, aimed to prioritize “comments that indicate disbelief”. It meant feeds from the BBC, the Economist, the New York Times and the Guardian all began with a comment mentioning the word fake. The test, which was visible only to some users, left many frustrated. The comments appeared on a wide range of stories, from ones that could be fake to ones that…

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Aluminium foil increases your wireless speed

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Researchers at Dartmouth University have found that a 3D printed shape covered in aluminum foil can improve wireless range and increase Wi-Fi security. The project, which appeared on Eurekalert, involves placing a reflector on and around a Wi-Fi router’s antennae to shape the beam, increasing range and preventing it from passing through to unwanted spaces. “With a simple investment of about $35 and specifying coverage requirements, a wireless reflector can be custom-built to outperform antennae that cost thousands of dollars,” said Xia Zhou, a Dartmouth assistant professor. In their paper,…

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New startup that helps you scan, send and print yourself

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Kat Kinkead and Peter Weijmarshausen met at their old company, Shapeways. Weijmarshausen recently stepped down as CEO and was looking for something cool to do when he and Kinkead realized that the most popular application of 3D scanning and printing was in 3D figurines. These tiny action-figure-like representations were wildly popular print subjects back at Shapeways but they were notoriously difficult to capture and print. Now, thanks to improvements in scanning, color printing, and software, they’re surprisingly easy. Thus Beheld was born. Kinkead, the CEO, has an MFA in industrial…

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Flying cars: Future of transportation or an inflated expectation?

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It seems like flying-car startups are finally taking over the “140-character” kinds of tech companies we are used to. With EU-based startup Lilium working on an all-electric autonomous flying taxi, garnering a $90 million Series B led by Tencent and supported by a number of well-known VCs (including Atomico), it’s clear that flying cars are transitioning from a fascinating concept to a quite-mature technology and promising investment thesis. But will we see flying cars out in the world? And how will the market environment evolve? The ecosystem is maturing. There are…

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Waymo is first to put fully self-driving cars on US roads without a safety driver

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Waymo, the autonomous vehicle division of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, reached an important milestone recently: since mid-October, the company has been operating its autonomous minivans on public roads in Arizona without a safety driver — or any human at all — behind the wheel. And starting very soon, the company plans to invite regular people for rides in these fully self-driving vehicles. The news that Waymo’s vehicles have been on public roads with no human in the driver’s seat was announced today by the company’s CEO John Krafcik at a…

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Facebook testing a new method to prevent revenge porn that requires uploading your nudes

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Facebook is testing a new method to combat revenge porn in Australia, the Australia Broadcasting Corporation reports. The strategy entails uploading your nude photos or videos to Messenger in order to help Facebook tag it as non-consensual explicit media. The company is doing this in partnership with Australian government agency e-Safety in order to try to prevent people from sharing intimate images without consent. If someone fears they are at risk of revenge porn, they can contact e-Safety. The organization might then tell them to send a nude photo of…

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Twitter officially expands its character limit to 280

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Twitter has expanded its character limit to 280 to all users in supported languages including English starting today. The company had first announced the plan to move beyond its traditional 140 characters back in September, noting at the time how a longer character count allowed users to express more of their thoughts without running out of room to tweet. The expansion was initially available to a select group of Twitter users as a trial. At the time of its original announcement, the company cited data backing up its decision that referenced how…

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NHS offers Smartphone GP appointments

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A 24-hour service has been launched for NHS patients, offering GP consultations via videolink on smartphones. The pilot scheme will initially cover 3.5 million patients in greater London. Patients will be able to check their symptoms through the mobile app and then have video consultations within two hours of booking. The Royal College of GPs has warned the service may not help patients with complex needs. The new free service has been launched by a group of London GPs and the online healthcare provider Babylon. Patients joining will leave their…

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Covert influence, the new money laundering

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Google is the most recent company known to have discovered evidence of Russian covert influence on its books. As more media companies realize Russia bought advertising space or promoted news stories, fake and otherwise, on their platforms, covert influence has become the new money laundering. Both activities hide below the surface of legitimate enterprises, cast a shadow of disrepute on those very enterprises and can be neutralized through transparency and accountability. Anti-money laundering laws provide useful lessons for combating covert influence and could be adapted for online media models that do…

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Paytm adds messaging features to India’s top digital wallet app

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Paytm, India’s top digital wallet and payment service, has introduced a chat feature to amp up its appeal among an increasingly competitive market. The new ‘Inbox’ feature, which was first outed in August, is initially available on Android, which accounts for the bulk of Paytm’s claimed 200 million users, and not iOS. It allows users to share messages and photos like other chat apps, but it also includes a peer-to-peer money transfer feature and access games, another vertical that Paytm has expanded into. Paytm, which is backed by Alibaba and…

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